Its taken many years, but I’ve found my restaurant, and it doesn’t even serve food! And not only that, Bakersfield doesn’t have one yet! So what the heck am I talking about? I think Bakersfield is well overdue for a community technology center (CTC).
I’ve always had a focus of bringing more technology to Kern County, so instead of a place to serve food, I realized I need to be serving up technology!
There are several local technology programs running under other nonprofit organizations such as the Stop the Violence After School Program at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Evangelist California Avenue Church of Christ, and Believers in Jesus Foursquare Church.
I also know of computer labs within local youth organizations and that’s great! But I think it’s time for Bakersfield to have its own self-standing CTC.
We constantly hear local youth say there’s nothing to do in Bakersfield, so including them definitely needs to be a focus. Providing local teenagers a place where not only can they access information technology and create a variety of content, but more importantly, to empower themselves to express their voice and with it, create positive change in their lives and community.
In addition to offering traditional computer courses, the CTC should offer cutting edge courses in the areas of networking, security, website design, audio/video production, and any other technology that will prepare both youth and adults for those employable IT jobs which will continue to grow in the future.
And while ‘CTC’ is becoming an outdated acronym, the goals are still the same: (1) collaborate with local partners to provide access to digital technologies for those who might otherwise not be able to benefit from online information; (2) developing innovating training and educational opportunities; and (3) creating content of value to residents and the community.
Are there challenges to a project like this? No doubt, especially in this economy. However, I truly believe challenging times bring opportunities. Grant opportunities still exist, and I think with a solid plan and vision, local corporations would also be willing to get on board.
All I know is that now the restaurant I want to create has nothing to do with food and everything to do with technology.
Engagement Question: Are you interested in helping bring a CTC to Bakersfield? Do you have time to volunteer for a steering committee? What types of programs other than those mentioned above would you like to see a Bakersfield CTC offer?